Unleashing their inner analyst – Annual Conference Report

The INSIGHT SIGs 4th annual conference was held at Amnesty on 30th November.  Around a 100 members of the group attended and unleased their inner analyst participating with the panel & workshop sessions that spanned 8 diverse areas including:

Forecasting; Classic RFV, Attrition & LTVs; Data Enhancement; Creative Research; Web & Online Integration; Social Media tools;  Analysis Technology and Recruiting analysts

If you attended or would like to see what was talked about the present decks used to stimulate discussion have been posted up to the website www.insightsig.org.uk and they are free to all to access.

Delegates heard from panel members from a wide variety of organisations including Cancer Research UK, RSPB, Breakthrough, Amnesty International, PDSA, and JustGiving.  Feedback from the delegates rated the day highly with over two thirds rating the sessions and day as excellent/good.

Nigel Magson, INSIGHT Chair, commented that “It was great to see that the sector is enthusiastic and engaged with getting insights from data to improve fundraising and organisational performance.  The case studies show that the sector has really come a long way in the adoption of more sophisticated techniques and technology.  Analysts are not only the drivers of fundraising income across a range of areas, they are also custodians of organisational insights that are key to wider organisational strategic direction.”


The group continues to foster the wider community of analysts and those keen to develop insight, and announced it has launched a Linkedin group in addition to its website.   Please join the group and conversation…


Training is vital to development and the group’s training programme launched this summer and led by Stuart McCoy and Julie Pitt has had excellent feedback.  Attendees have been improving their skills on campaign testing, excel and excel pivoting.  Forthcoming courses are planned for February – please contact Julie Pitt.

The Torch Hypothesis

Some of the delegates were bemused by Nigel’s use of a torch in his opening address and he has explained it below for all those who were not thinking quite as laterally before their first cup of coffee!

Sometimes analysts need to challenge received wisdoms.  The Chinese believe that “Many hands make light work” and we challenged that hypothesis in the conference room and found it wanting.  Many analysts hands did not make the torch work.  A set of batteries would have. It was a null hypothesis.

Analysis can be like that.  It can lead you down blind dark dark alleys. We can be pursuing something we know might fail.  But as analysts we are not disheartened, we don’t stop asking questions and challenging received wisdom. We have to have faith. One day the torch will come on.

Even a null answer gives us insights.  For instance, at the conference we can see that analysts are not afraid to ask questions, and if they have multiple questions they raise two hands.  (Thankfully they also use deodorant!)

Enough said.